Times letters Beat the recession with bold creativity
The Times 18 May 2012
Sir, After working in design and business for almost 60 years I am currently enduring my sixth, and without question, worst recession. During the last recession I built Europe’s largest restaurant in Soho because I believe the way through difficult economic times is to be bold, seize opportunity and create.
At the end of the 1970s there was a housing surplus. I wouldn’t say the stock was all good quality but if somebody needed a home they stood a good chance of getting one.
That was down to the ambitious postwar political desire to transform this country and improve lives. In 2010 we built the fewest homes since the end of the Second World War.
We need that vision, ambition and pride again because I truly believe we can build our way out of recession.
Banks need to lend, developers need to commission architects, planners need to approve projects quickly and efficiently and we need to build. There is a massive bubble of demand that must be burst to kick -start growth. We need government to provide the pinprick.
Grant Shapps, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, throws out soundbites and tweets with Blairite fervour, but doesn’t appear to actually do much.
According to the charity Empty Homes, there are nearly one million UK properties vacant, a scandal that tweeting won’t help.
Housing starts are at near record lows and Mr Shapps can’t keep blaming “the last administration”. The coalition has been in government for almost two years now and excuses have worn thin.
SIR TERENCE CONRAN